Chronic snoring is more than just a nuisance. It can signify sleep apnea, a condition that increases your risk for heart disease.
If you snore regularly, you may be at increased risk for heart disease. That’s because chronic snoring can be a hidden sign of sleep apnea, a condition in which your breathing is interrupted during sleep.
Sleep apnea not only disrupts your sleep, but it also strains your heart. Over time, it can lead to high blood pressure and various other health issues that could lead to cardiovascular problems. If you’re concerned about snoring, talk to the doctors at the best heart hospital in Delhi. There are treatments available for sleep apnea that can help reduce your risk for heart disease.
- The Two Types of Sleep Apnea
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
As a result of an obstruction of the throat (pharynx), a person experiences obstructive sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue that supports the upper airways relaxes and narrows, preventing air from flowing naturally through the lungs. The flow of air from your mouth and nose into the lungs must be unobstructed for the heart and body to remain healthy.
The disease may occur at any age, although it is more frequent in older adults and men than in women. Most women who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea do so after menopause.
- Central Sleep Apnea
A malfunction in the brain’s signaling to the diaphragm causes central sleep apnea. The diaphragm controls breathing. Central sleep apnea differs from obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the airway becomes blocked.
Central sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because it is less common than obstructive sleep apnea and is harder to detect. Symptoms of central sleep apnea include snoring, gasping for air, and waking up feeling unrefreshed.
Untreated, central sleep apnea can lead to severe health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke. Treatment for central sleep apnea often includes using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
- How Does Sleep Apnea Manifest Itself?
The most common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea is loud snoring. Some of the other symptoms include:
- Gasping for breath
- You wake up startled by the sound of your snore
- Frequently waking up during sleep
- Consistently experiencing headaches or dry mouth in the morning
- Fatigue during the day
There are many symptoms associated with central sleep apnea, but they do differ from one individual to another. Snoring is not always a symptom of central sleep apnea. The degree of snoring may not be as loud or intense as that caused by obstructive sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea may also cause the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath following an abrupt awakening during sleep
- Sleep deprivation
- Fatigue that persists throughout the day
- Mood changes
- Consistent headaches in the morning
Although many people don’t think to connect the following symptoms to sleep apnea, they are vital signs of both types of condition.
- Erectile dysfunction
- Nocturia (excessive urination at night)
- Bedwetting (enuresis)
- When to Seek Medical Attention for Snoring?
Snoring is not always indicative of sleep apnea. You should seek medical attention whenever you or a family member observes persistent sleep apnea symptoms, including snoring.
The specialists at the best heart hospital in Delhi will examine your symptoms and, if required, perform tests to determine whether you are suffering from heart failure, such as:
- CT scan
- A cardiac echogram
- Testing the stress level
You may get referred to a sleep specialist. The doctor performs a particular overnight test known as polysomnography to monitor your breathing, motion, and heart function while you sleep. Polysomnography records the following:
- Wave patterns in the brain
- The rate of heartbeat
- Level of oxygen in the blood
Additionally, it records the movements of your legs and eyes while you sleep. A sleep apnea test can also help diagnose other conditions, including narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome.
- How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
If you suffer from a mild case and are having trouble sleeping, your doctor may suggest that you make changes to your lifestyle, such as:
- Be physically active regularly, but do not exercise before bedtime since this can keep you awake due to adrenaline flow.
- The consumption of alcohol should be restricted to one drink for women and two drinks for men. Excessive alcohol consumption impairs sleep.
- You should avoid caffeine before bedtime.
- Establish a bedtime routine that includes soaking in a hot bath, turning down the lights, or drinking herbal tea before bedtime.
If lifestyle changes don’t work, or if you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, you may need to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine while you sleep. CPAP machines deliver air through a mask worn over your nose and mouth.
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that can lead to heart disease. If you feel you may have heavy sleep apnea, talk to the best heart hospital in Delhi. Getting treatment for sleep apnea can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
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